Sunday, 24 October 2010

organisation in 'we like girls and women', shock

oh my goodness. i found this while linking to the mind-bendingly awesome Young Women's Empowerment Project in my last post. at the moment i'm working in a couple of places that use the language of empowerment and so on... well i guess they've pretty much co-opted that language, and are using it for coercive purposes. and they seem to be among the more sound of voluntary sector organisations in the uk. imagine being part of a project that promotes this stuff. imagine...

"What we believe

  • Confidentiality. Anything that is said here stays here. We use anonymous identifiers to keep records of what we do.
  • Harm reduction. We support young women and girls in making any decisions in their lives that they want. We don’t tell anyone what to do or who to be. We think that youth are the best at making decisions about their lives.
  • No requirements of youth. Any young woman or girl impacted by the sex trade/street economy can participate.
  • Every participant is smart and can contribute to the project immediately. We don’t think that people need to be sober or out of the trade to express their thoughts and feelings, help us out, or to learn.
  • Sexism, racism, classism, and homophobia intersect and deeply affect the trade and girls and women who are involved. We can’t talk about the trade without talking about these issues.
  • Solidarity with boys/men/transgender persons involved in the trade. This issue isn’t only about women and girls.
  • We like girls and women. We don’t think they are “a problem,” “hard to work with,” or “difficult.”
  • We are lead by women who have been there. We call the shots.
  • We believe people who know this life are the ones who should be around this group.
  • We strive to have respect for everyone. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been, where you’re at, who you are, or what your opinions may be.
  • People don’t need labels. We respect youth by not labeling them as problem youth, delinquents, etc.
  • We don’t want girls to “be saved.” We are here to support young women in making decisions about their lives.
  • We do not have one set of ideas. We don’t think that girls in our project should, either.
  • Our views about the trade are always changing. We reserve the right to change our minds when we learn new things.
  • We are not a social service agency. We do not provide case management.
  • Everyone can help make decisions.
  • We believe in partnerships between youth and adults, and partnership means that adults don’t make all of the decisions.
  • We believe that girls do not “seek out” abuse. Girls do what they need to do to survive.
  • Our experiences in the street economy/sex trade do not define who we are, or who we may become.
  • We believe that involvement in the sex trade/street economy does not suddenly become harmless based on age, sex, or gender. We believe in listening to people who are involved to find out what is happening.
  • Girls have their own language and understanding about the sex trade/street economy. Everyone who is living it is the expert.
  • Small is best. We don’t want to be a monolithic ‘agency.’ We offer different spaces, different ways of understanding, and we feel most comfortable with small arrangements."

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